Larry Bradley talks about the East River Mountain Tunnel. He is interviewed by Lisa Payne. (RGHS 95)
Lisa: Did you work on the building of the East River Mountain Tunnel?
|Lisa: What is chuck tender?
Mr. Bradley: A chuck tender then was when you started (the sevenhundred feet was nothing but mud and rock and everything had to be put in liner plates.)
Lisa: Where there many difficult tasks to carry out while you worked there?
Mr. Bradley: Oh, ya! There was a lot of them. Everybody had to do everything starting out.
Lisa: Like what?
Mr. Bradley: You carried liner plates, iron workers would bend the steel beams. They'd only drill half of the tunnel at a time.
Lisa: Did you use dynamite?
Mr. Bradley: Not at first, you didn't use dynamite because you had to go through mud and rock to get to solid rock.
Lisa: How was it when you used the dynamite?
Mr. Bradley: After you got into where the solid rock was you had to drill it and everything, then they started using dynamite.
Lisa: What kind of equipment did you use?
Mr. Bradley: Oh, throughout the job there was athy wagons; they turned in the middle, tons at a time. Then you had heavy equipment like loaders; they turned in the middle. Everything had to turn inside the tunnel.
Lisa: What were the conditions down there that you worked in?
Mr. Bradley: Very muddy, water all the time. The East Mountain has a tremendous amount of water, mud, and dirt and water, that's what you had wore rubber suits all the time and rubber boots.
Lisa: Did you meet a lot of interesting people worked there?
Mr. Bradley: Oh, ya a lot of people. You met people there from California and Georgia. They came from everywhere they was use to doing that type of work.
Lisa: Was there any accidents that you know of while you worked there on the tunnel that you know of?
Mr. Bradley: Why ya, there was quite a few accidents, minor accidents, some major. One guy in particular I remember from Giles County, though he lives in Blnd now, he fell on the back of anathywagon and broke his back.
Lisa: What kind of wages did you get?
Mr. Bradley: At the time, back then; that was in 1969, 70, and 71; they was very good wages for the time and period around here. Somewhere around, I don't know, you'd bring three-hundred to four-hundred a week for forty hours.
Lisa: Did you get paid by weekly or ...
Mr. Bradley: Weekly, ya, I was paid weekly.
Lisa: Were there any funny stories that you can recall?
Mr. Bradley: Ya, one in particular. The mans name was Tuggle. He was the janitor and custodian, he took care of the whole place up there; the change house and odds, where everybody showered and everything.
Lisa: Was it Tuggle?
Mr. Bradley: Tuggle, ya. And I understand now that he's done past away. So I don't mind telling it , but at the time Tuggle was custodian for the change house and went there to a daily routine, it was a twenty-four hour operation, five days a week, it was around the clock. And he got in there where we was showeren, was a large room with showers all the wa around the room, and somebody had left a piece of soap and he went in there and he just slipped on it and just took his own shower right then. That was all of that!
Would you like to return to the top of the page?
copyright©bland county history archives all rights reserved 2000